Local Stores Impose Limitations on Teens


Amy Manzanares

Students after school on May 30, 2023 waiting to get into CVS. Students wait in line in order for the store to maintain their number restriction. Three to four students are allowed inside at a time.

After three teen arrests in January at the Columbia Mall, mall leadership issued new rules limiting teen access, according to WBAL-TV. The regulations state that teenagers 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m. to be inside the mall. Security checks are done at the mall door.

The new rules restricting teen access at the mall and CVS make it harder for teens to socialize, according to students such as sophomore Terry Larose.

“It’s Fridays and Saturdays at four; these are the most likely days I’ll go to the mall and now I have to go with my parents, which is kind of stupid,” said Terry. “[Teens] know they are not allowed to [go to the mall] anymore so they don’t go or they’ll get kicked out.”

However, Wilde Lake students who work at the mall, such as senior and AMC employee Alicia Weatherford, say that the changes have resulted in benefits, such as less active security around the mall.

“I haven’t seen as many police cars,” said Alicia.

But, with the new restrictions on teens, the environment of the mall, which used to be a common spot for students, has completely changed, according to workers such as senior Debbie Perez.

“We’re not having sales and we’re not having as many customers as we used to, which is cutting hours for us,” said Debbie.

We’re not having sales and we’re not having as many customers as we used to, which is cutting hours for us.

— Debbie Perez, Mall Employee

“It is definitely a lot calmer, but you can tell that it just feels very dead,” said Debbie.

Derek Fermaint, who works at Lucky Brand, reports that when youth are found shopping unsupervised at the mall, “security has to tell them to leave.” “There’s a lot of fights in the mall and a lot of unnecessary stealing,” Derek said.

This resulted in the implementation of the new policy. The CVS in the Wilde Lake Village Center also recently enforced new rules “to limit the amount of theft,” according to CVS employee Anisa. When a security guard is present, the number of students allowed in the store is limited and they must leave their backpacks at the door.

Students, such as sophomore Molly Eagan, are concerned about the “unfairness” of the CVS rules. Molly says she is being punished for the actions of a small group of students, and now she fears for her belongings.

“I was scared for my bag the whole time I was in CVS because I had my Chromebook and my phone in there,” Molly said. “It’s weird to have to leave your bags at the front of the store because it’s an invasion of your belongings.”

At the Columbia Mall, employees like Debbie say they are being hurt by the new policy. Debbie, an American Eagle and Champs employee, says her hours could be affected because of the teen restrictions.